Arch Enterprises featured in ADVANCE Magazine's report on X-Ray Recycling

archMinimum Exposure

X-ray recycling requires its own set of privacy practices to protect patient information.

By: Cheryl McEvoy

"Hospitals are tight on space, and as they usher in electronic equipment, traditional records are getting the boot. Old and outdated paper records can be shredded, but X-ray films aren't as easy to scrap. Here, ADVANCE tracks what happens to X-rays once they ship out, and how destruction companies keep privacy intact.

Bare Bones

Traditional film X-rays are coated in silver, so when it's time to clear out the record room, they require special treatment. Films are sent to silver refiners, which remove the silver from the X-rays and reclaim the precious metal from the sheets. The process is done through one of two ways: a chemical wash, which releases the silver; or thermal oxidation, which heats the film and produces silver-rich ash. The ash is then heated in another furnace, creating molten silver that is poured into a mold to form a silver bar. If a refiner wants to take purity to the next level, they can also use advanced refining techniques to create crystal silver. Either way, the silver goes back into the manufacturing industry to be used in coins, electronics and beyond. "They're putting silver now in clothing and shoes, [due to] the antimicrobial properties of silver," said Julie DiNatale, national sales manager for Arch Enterprises, a silver recycling firm.

Hospitals can earn a rebate for the silver reclaimed from X-rays, and some facilities exchange a portion or all of the amount for purging or removal ..."

Visit ADVANCE Magazine for the complete article.